The Senate Foreign Relations Committee, one of the most powerful committees in the US legislature, will hold a hearing on Sri Lanka on Tuesday February 24 and 2:30 pm. The hearings will focus on recent developments in Sri Lanka-- specifically
1. The ongoing military conflict in the north and east
2. The deteriorating humanitarian situation and
3. Allegations of human rights violations by the Government against Tamils.
The committee is chaired by Senator John Kerry, who once ran in a US presidential election about five years ago. Kerry just returned after a visit to Gaza.
The Committee will hear three witnesses -- Anna Neistat (Human Rights Watch), Bob Dietz (Committee to protect journalists) , and Jeff Lunstead (former US ambassador to SL).
CPJ will specifically zero in on the killings of journalists in Sri Lanka, described as one of the world's most dangerous places for reporters.
While we are taking time to act, the sinhalese are working very hard to destroy this opportunity.
Forward this to everyone on your email list. Sinhalese are planning to influence the US Senate hearing on the 24th. We need to counter that. Please remember the message at the bottom is anti-Tamil propaganda by the Sinhalese.
Your help is needed in countering that propaganda
Sinhala supporters of the Governments actions plan on undermining the US Senate hearing by discrediting the senator and human rights watch representative!
Here is their plan: http://www.asiantribuneq=node/15732
They plan on writing to members of the US Senate telling them that US Senator John Kerry and HRW Rep Anna Neistat are not fit for this panel because they know the truth and take a negative stance towards the Sri Lankan Government.
We need to support the US Foreign Relations Committee and ensure that this hearing takes place!
Email A brief paragraph or two (less than one page) to the following Senators of the Foreign Relations Committee regarding the following: (Dont forget to include your FULL NAME, city and indicate whether you have Canadian/US or British citizenship:
(E-mail addresses for All 18 US Senators located below in the discussion thread or available at http://foreign.senate.gov/about.html)
Please an email to the committee or any of its members, you are free to copy or modify this letter.
Subject: The humanitarian crisis in the Sri Lankan war zone
Chairman Kerry and Members of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee:
We have received Senator Kerry's letter, and are grateful for his stated concern regarding the humanitarian crisis in the Sri Lankan war zone.
While we share Senator Kerry's concern, it is plain to us that there can be no relief for the hundreds of thousands of displaced civilians in the war zone until and unless there is a cease-fire. As the Sri Lankan government has shown no willingness to end their aggression against their Tamil minority, it is apparent that a cease-fire must be forced on them, and the United States is the only party with the influence to force an end to the fighting.
The committee should be aware of the following conditions:
· The United Nations and the rest of the world seem indifferent to this crisis. Only the U.S. has the strength and will to bring a solution, and so we are depending on the U.S.
· The persecution of the Tamils by the Colombo government began almost as soon as the British left in 1948. Armed resistance did not begin until 1983, after decades of government abuse and the failure of all attempts at peaceful resolution of these abuses. It is not accurate to suggest that this civil war between two sides who are equally worthy of blame.
· Senator Patrick Leahy said "The origins of the conflict arise from decades of the Sinhalese majority's systematic discrimination against the Tamil minority, and its denial of the Tamils' meaningful participation in the political process." (See the whole statement at: http://leahy.senate.gov/press/200902/020309d.html )
· The Bush administration called this Sri Lankan civil war a war on terror. We think this is incorrect. This war started with a campaign of government terror; the Tamil Tigers arose as a justifiable resistance group. While we disagree with some of their tactics, we maintain that the committee should state that the Tigers are an opposition group to state terrorism.
· The committee should be aware that the Sri Lankan government is forcing refugees into what it calls "welfare camps" but which we and others call concentration camps. The British Guardian newspaper reports that Sri Lankan armed forces and associated paramilitary groups forcibly conscript young men and women from among the refugees. "Young men in the refugee camps can be taken at any time – not only by the army but by other groups too, paramilitary groups. They come at night and take them." (Guardian Weekly, 02/04/09 whole story at: http://www.guardianweekly.co.uk/?page=edit...918&catID=6 )
· Tamil Net reports pregnant Tamil women's forced abortions. The Toronto Globe and Mail reports "disappeared" refugees in the camps and "Singhalization" of the property of Tamil inmates of the camps.
· The committee should note that the Sri Lankan government has forced out humanitarian NGOs and international media in an apparent attempt to make a witness-free war zone. Voice of America reports a food crisis among the quarter million displaced persons in the combat zone, where the government rarely allows access to U.N. and other aid groups, and the Council of NGOs of Mullaitivu District reports similar shortages of blood and medical supplies.
· We Tamil Americans fear for the safety of our Tamil brothers and sisters in Sri Lanka, and hope that the Senate Foreign Relations Committee's examination of this humanitarian crisis may help in some way to resolve it.
(Full Name, City, Country)
ALL US/BRITISH/CANADIAN Citizens PLEASE do this. Sinhala Pro-Government supporters are planning to undermine the US Senate hearing. We Must not let this happen! The truth must prevail, by all means necessary.
Please do not hesitate, this is required. If the hearing is successful, the US will intervene immediately in Sri Lanka and bring a cease-fire and free all the Tamils from the Sri Lankan Army's current slaughter.
US Senators of Foreign Relations Committee
John Kerry: http://kerry.senate.gov/contact/email.cfm
Chris Dodd: http://dodd.senate.gov/index.php?q=node/3128
Russ Feingold: http://feingold.senate.gov/contact_opinion.html
Barbara Boxer: http://boxer.senate.gov/contact/email/policy.cfm
Robert Menendez: http://menendez.senate.gov/contact/contact.cfm
Benjamin Cardin: http://cardin.senate.gov/contact/index.cfm
Robert Casey: http://casey.senate.gov/contact/
Jim Webb: http://webb.senate.gov/contact/
Jeanne Shaheen: http://shaheen.senate.gov/contact/contact.cfm
Ted Kaufman: http://kaufman.senate.gov/services/contact/
Richard Lugar: http://lugar.senate.gov/
Bob Corker: http://corker.senate.gov/public/index.cf...ion.ContactMe
Johnny Isakson: http://isakson.senate.gov/
James Risch: http://risch.senate.gov/home.cfm
Jim DeMint: http://demint.senate.gov/public/